October 26, 2011; Source: MarketWatch  |  A study commissioned by Fidelity Charitable indicates that a larger majority of donors will be maintaining or increasing their levels of giving this year over last. Of the 502 donors surveyed (an admittedly small sample), 72 percent say they will give at least as much or more than they have previously as compared to 63 percent in 2010. This, and its performance over the first nine months of the year, led Fidelity to project that 2011 will be its strongest year ever in outgoing contributions and incoming grants. As its press release states, “For the first nine months of 2011, Fidelity Charitable donors recommended $832 million in grants to nonprofits nationwide, a 12 percent increase over the first nine months of 2010. Incoming contributions to Fidelity Charitable were up 23 percent compared with the same period in 2010, resulting in $748 million in new charitable dollars.”

The increasing use of donor advised funds among individual donors is a trend worth tracking as it somewhat skews the giving statistics. The money in donor advised funds is released over time so the fact that it has been given to the funds does not mean it is being put to use in a charitable activity during the year the gift is made.—Ruth McCambridge